STREET RACE CLAIMS LIFE OF RYERSON STUDENT

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By Vanessa Greco

News Editor

Around this time last year, Geetesh Singh began to map out his future. Expecting to graduate in 2010, he saw a completed diploma and LSAT appointment on the horizon — dreams that were extinguished before his final year at Ryerson.

Singh, a 20-year-old psychology and criminology student, was one of three youths involved in a car crash on the Don Valley Parkway on July 6.

“I remember having a great heart-to-heart conversation with Geetesh about his future, things he could do with his degree,” said John Turtle, the undergraduate program director for psychology. “What happened was just tragic.”

Adam Bhagiratti, close friend and driver of the red two-seater convertible, also died. A 21-year-old woman, who was sharing a single passenger seat with Singh, survived with minor injuries. Bhagiratti, 21, was the only one wearing a seatbelt.

Bhagiratti’s Nissan 300ZX was travelling northbound on the Don Valley Parkway at a high speed when it lost control and veered off the road. Witnesses told police the vehicle was racing an unidentified white car. The Nissan convertible ripped out about 12 metres of guardrail before hitting a hydro pole. Singh was ejected from the car.

“Given that the driver’s side took most of the impact, there’s a strong probability Geetesh would have survived had he been wearing a seatbelt,” said Sgt. Tim Burrows of Toronto Police.

Over a month after the crash, Suraya Bhabha is still in shock over the collision that killed her longtime family friend.

“Geetesh has always been a responsible guy,” she said. “What happened that night is not typical of him.”

Instead Bhabha, 17, remembers Singh as a vibrant individual who embraced his Trinidadian heritage and loved listening to soca — dance music with Caribbean origins.

“He lived for the few times a year he got to visit Trinidad,” she said.

His final trip there would be on July 18, when Singh’s loved ones gathered on the banks of the Caroni River to offer half of his ashes. His remaining ashes were scattered off the Scarborough Bluffs into Lake Ontario, a tribute to the city he grew up in with his younger brother Maneesh.

Born on Sept. 23, 1988, Singh spent his formative years in the city’s east end. After graduating with honours from SATEC — a technical program at W.A. Porter Collegiate — he was admitted to Ryerson psychology and awarded a scholarship.

When outside of class, Singh was working from shifts at Future Shop, recalled Jessica Man, a close friend and classmate.

“He was such a hardworking person,” said the fourth-year nursing student. “But he always made time to make the people around him feel special.”

Two years ago, Man remembers telling Singh she was having a rough week. The next morning, Singh asked her to meet him in the laneway outside the POD. He had brought her homemade banana cake and paper flowers, hoping to cheer her up.

After the death of their eldest son, memories are what Singh’s parents cherish most.

“The universe has given us a new script with no instructions,” said Shri, Singh’s father. “Now we’re just searching for ways to celebrate his life.”

Ryerson might be able to help. According to VP students, Heather Lane Vetere, the university is looking into a posthumous certificate for Singh.

 

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